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Franklin Township Municipal Authority could add $3 sewage fee

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By Daveen Rae Kurutz and Karen Zapf
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 8:51 p.m.
 

Customers in Plum who are served by the Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority may have to pay more for services next year.

Franklin Township Municipal Authority Manager Jim Brucker said he plans to recommend instituting a $3-per-month fee to sewage bills in Murrysville, Export, Delmont, Salem, Penn Township, Plum and Monroeville as early as this spring.

The new fee would fund an asset management plan to enable the authority to replace equipment without obtaining large loans.

“Every part has a price tag,” Brucker said. “Every part has a life. A building may be good for 50 years, a pump for 20 years. When these things come due, you have to replace them.”

The authority, which serves about 10,000 customers in seven municipalities, took out a $5 million bond in late 2011 for upgrades. There was no rate increase at that time, Brucker said, but customers did have a $1 rate increase in 2010.

The authority's customer base includes about 30 customers who live in the Gun Club Road area off Route 286 in Plum, according to Plum Borough Municipal Authority Manager Howard Theis.

Theis said the 2013 budget draft does not include a rate hike or new fees for the 9,700 water and sewer customers. The minimum rate for residential customers for water is $12.83. The minimum sewage rate is $27.35.

The fee recommended by Brucker must be approved by the authority's board. Brucker said he will discuss the idea with the board this spring. Each community has a different sewage rate, based on size and services. Some communities add an extra fee onto the authority's rate. Local rates range from $29.27 per month in Murrysville and Penn Township to about $38 per month in Delmont.

If approved, the fee would generate between $400,000 and $450,000 annually, Brucker said. He hopes the plan would enable the authority to avoid large, regular rate increases in the future.

“What we're trying to do here is not go into any more debt, but to set a fund aside for the replacement of this equipment,” Brucker said. “It's just like when you do a budget at home. You put money into a savings account because you know your furnace is going to blow and when you get to $10,000 you replace it.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz and Karen Zapf are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Daveen can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com. Karen can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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